Ghost Ships Festival, Milwaukee, WI

March 11: For the third weekend in a row, Muddies were on the road again, this time traveling to the 18th “Annual Ghost Ships Festival”being held at the Crowne Plaza, Milwaukee Airport Hotel, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The purpose of today’s trip was to complete the last leg of the winter tri-state trifecta of underwater diving events, shows and seminars. The first two being “Our World Underwater” held in Chicago and the 36th “Great Lakes Shipwreck Festival” which was held in Ann Arbor just a little ways from Detroit.

Ghost Ships presentations started Friday evening beginning with a feature presentation on the “Edmund Fitzgerald Investigations’ and on Saturday the exhibit hall opened at 8:00 AM with the presentations beginning at 9:00.

Here are a few photos that should give you a feel of what was available at the event.

Posted in Club Trips | Comments Off on Ghost Ships Festival, Milwaukee, WI

“36th Great Lakes Shipwrecks Festival”

March 4, 2017: Muddies attended the “36TH Great Lakes Shipwrecks Festival” that was presented by the Ford Seahorses and Sea Lancers Scuba Diving Club in cooperation from the Detroit Historical Society, Dossin Great Lakes Museum and the Great Lakes Maritime Institute.  The Festival was held at the Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Sample pictures of what you would have seen if you had been there.  Maybe see you their next year?



Posted in Club Trips | Comments Off on “36th Great Lakes Shipwrecks Festival”

Our World Underwater – Chicago Dive and Travel Expo

February 25:  This Saturday several Muddies attended “Our World Underwater” which is a Chicago Dive and Travel Expo complete with Seminars, Workshops, Film Festival, Travel, and Exhibits. It was held at the Donald Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont Illinois.

First Booth Entering OWU


Make an offer rack



Posted in Club Trips, Photos | Comments Off on Our World Underwater – Chicago Dive and Travel Expo

River Wreck Diving – St. Joseph River

Since this was another unseasonably warm and sunny day, for a February, there was no reason not to go diving. Todays dive area was back in the Saint Joseph river flowing between the shores of St. Joseph and Benton Harbor Michigan.

Under clear blue skies we launched from the Benton Harbor DNR docks  and proceeded toward the wreck site doing a little extra side scanning on the way. We were really wanting to see if there was additional wreckage way from the main body and if there were additional wreckage out in the middle of the river.

Last weeks river conditions were a good bit better for exploration than today. The visibility was zero at the surface and varied between 12″  to 18″ on the bottom once your eyes adapted to the low light. The current was very swift and much more of a problem than two weeks ago when we were shore diving.

When the first diver back attempted to get back on board, the additional drag caused us to drag the anchor until it snagged in the wreckage. It was extremely helpful to have had a person topside at this time.  Though no one took “goody bags”  there were treasures to be found in the way of bottles and jars and a few made their way on board.

Additional scanning was performed on the way back to the docks and a few places of interest were noted for future possible dives.

Several of today’s divers: Ted Tomaszewski, Kevin Ailes and Robb Lyczynski.

Viver view toward Morrison Channel

doing a little extra scanning


After dive discussion


Glassware and bottles




Posted in Club Dives, Fresh MUD, Shipwreck | Comments Off on River Wreck Diving – St. Joseph River

Saint Joseph River Wreck

This was Mack’s first wreck dive of February  and the second for Kevin Ailes. With no ice and no one local ready to dive, Kevin was happy to came down to check out this shallow water wreck site.

The last time Mack dove this site was over 30 years ago and had been interested in seeing the changes over that period of time. Mack said that, back in the day, the water entry points were all natural with shallow slopes and the two ships were on top of each other. The bottom ship was a wooden steam ship and the top one was an old fishing tug that had the superstructure cut away. Thirty years ago the feature point of the wreckage was the tugs’ diesel engine with all its associated components.  My how time changes everything!

The shore line has been dug out and filled in  concrete blocks, making it very steep. It appears that a clam shell bucket was used during this time and a most  of  the wreckage removed.

What was left consists of  junk iron and wood with lots of snag and puncture hazards. There was also a significant current as you moved away from the shoreline into the main body of the river.

Air temperature was 27°F, wind speed was 11 mph and wind chill factor temp was ~11° F. Water about 34/35°F. It did not take long for your gear to freeze up on the surface. Still it was a good dive.  🙂



Posted in Club Dives, Fresh MUD | Comments Off on Saint Joseph River Wreck

Can’t Dive? Go to Refresher Training

This was a great weekend for classroom work if you were not able to get out diving. Several Muddies attended the following PADI & DAN speciality classes at Wolfs’ Marine in Benton Harbor. (Primary Instructor: Dave Tonneman – Benthic Adventures & Tracy David Scott Click)

The three classes were:
1) DAN Basic Life Support: CPR and First Aid
2) DAN Emergency Oxygen for Scuba Diving Injuries
3) PADI Enriched Air /Nitrox

Great classes, excellent instructors and a tremendous learning experience.



Posted in Club Dives, Fresh MUD | Comments Off on Can’t Dive? Go to Refresher Training

Saugatuck – Shipwreck Ice Dive

Some times the best visibility you have in a lake or river is when you have it covered in ice. The water is not agitated by wind, boaters, fishermen, water skiing and wave action. So in an effort to capitalize on the possibility of this occurring, Kevin Ailes and company ventured out to video the remains of a shallow wreck in Saugatuck.

Kevin said:  Unfortunately today was not as desired as the visibility was only 5 feet. Still it was a good time and gave us a chance to practice self extraction. Thank you Tyler Knapp for line tending. Looked like we had a flyover by Mack as we were diving.

Posted in Club Dives, Fresh MUD | Comments Off on Saugatuck – Shipwreck Ice Dive

The Ice Man Cometh

In South West Michigan, least ways in our area, ice thickness on local lakes has not been to the depths that ice divers associate with being thick enough for groups of  divers to make a hole big enough to have an ice dive.  For this type of group activity having a minimum  of 5 inches of clear ice is desired but having 8 inches or so is better if your using snowmobiles to haul gear and provide emergency transport if necessary. But for ice fishing 4 inches of ice is considered safe.

With that said, it is not unusual for individuals, when making holes to fish or waiting around for the fish to bite, to occasionally drop items that seem to gravitate to the only opening in the ice on the entire lake.  Items like cell phones.

So far this January, Kevin Ailes (Mud Club Member & Wreck Researcher) has been very busy attempting to recover such items with the majority of searches ending with success.

Three Mile Lake – Paw Paw

Carter Lake


Posted in Club Dives, Fresh MUD | Comments Off on The Ice Man Cometh

2016 New Years Night Dive 2017

The last dive of 2016  and the first dive of January 1, 2017.

Held at Hidden Valley Pond in Niles, Michigan.

Divers in the water:

Kevin Ailes, Joshua Snyder, Larry Steelman, Ken Riemer, Don McAlhany.

Surface Support:

Mary Beth Thar, Lucy Riemer, Jim Scholz

Posted in Club Dives, Fresh MUD | Comments Off on 2016 New Years Night Dive 2017

Diving Withdrawel

Bob Sweeney and Kevin Ailes were undergoing extreme symptoms of diver withdrawal and needed to get wet quick. Of all the places around they traveled Gull Lake in Ross Town ship. The only place open was the Prairie View boat launch on the north side.  They ended up with about 30 minutes down time even with them inadvertently going their separate ways once underwater.

The max depth obtained was 48′, air temperature was a warm 55° F,  water temperature about 38°F and underwater visibility about 8 feet .  It was a good thing they had compasses with them as the fog settled in making surface visibility rather sketchy.
It was a Fun work up dive before Bob’s News Years Day dive at Gilboa.

Posted in Club Dives, Fresh MUD | Comments Off on Diving Withdrawel